Lieutenant Government Elizabeth Roberts is hosting a care package drive this weekend to support Rhode Island soldiers. The initiative “Operation Holiday Cheer” is sending 350 care packages to soldiers serving overseas this holiday season. Anyone can bring donations to the Rhode Island National Guard Armory this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Spokesperson Maria Tocco said donations of simple things like powdered drink mix, coffee syrup, beef jerky, and batteries are received with gratitude by the troops.
A large group of Rhode Island National guardsmen is set to return from deployment Thursday and Friday.
About 120 members of the Air National Guard will return home; arriving at Quonset Point over the next two days. They’re members of the 143rd Airlift Wing unit, who’ve been stationed in South West Asia. They’ve been deployed for as many as six months, working as pilots, aircraft maintenance crews and support staff.
Sen. Jack Reed has begun reviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed military budget. Reed is a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, which will play a role in passing legislation to enact the budget. He says he’s looking carefully for ways to balance the need to trim spending while ensuring the nation’s military can meet the new kinds of security threats it may face in the future.
For example, Reed says he hopes to maintain funding for Rhode Island-based military research.
Throughout the state Monday there were parades and wreath-laying ceremonies to honor the veterans who have passed away. For the living there were free meals at several local restaurants.
Fire and Ice Restaurant at Providence Place Mall has been serving up free meals to veterans on Veterans Day for the past three years. This year, they expanded the freebie to include immediate family members as well. Restaurant manager Brian Ahlquist said it’s their way of saying thanks to those who have served out country in uniform.
Rhode Island has lost a sixth soldier to the war on terrorism. The Rhode Island National Guard has announced the death of Staff Sergeant Timothy McGill in Afghanistan.
Sergeant McGill lived in Ramsey, New Jersey but was a member of the Rhode Island National Guard. He was assigned to company A 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces. He was killed Saturday from wounds received by small arms fire in eastern Afghanistan.
Senator Jack Reed says the United States needs to send Syria a clear message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Reed’s comments came one day after Secretary of State John Kerry said there was – quote – “undeniable” proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own citizens last week, killing hundreds of civilians.
On this solemn anniversary, an update on the terrible costs of war, including the toll on veterans’ and their families’ lives, from the Brown University-based “Costs of War” project. The ongoing project taps academics of all stripes to tally up the myriad costs of post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, from the invisible and previously unaccounted for costs to taxpayers to the vastly under-reported costs in civilian lives, economies, and environments.